“French Synth Lovers #2” Compilation (2015)

Syncrophone is a great little house/techno record shop located in what I believe is the 11th arrondissement in Paris, France. We visited there a couple of weeks ago and found it to be a fantastic spot, a compact store outfitted with a number of turntable listening stations, a ton of display racks along the walls, and a very friendly guy working behind the counter. We came away with three records from that stop-off, including this newly released nugget called French Synth Lovers #2, a comp comprised of 10 songs from the 1981 to 1984 period. We’d enjoyed the BIPPP French synth comp so much that this one was a no brainer.

I liked this record right from the start of the first track, Siflèt’s “Rodger,” with it’s minimal synth sound and female vocals. A quick review of Discogs seems to reveal that most of these artists released little to no material back when they were active, with the exceptions of the extremely prolific Benoit Hutin and Serge Blenner, who look to have both put out a ton of stuff over the years.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about French Synth Lovers #2 is the number of songs with female vocals. Three of the six songs on side A have ladies on the microphone, which may not sound like a ton, but consider that two of the other three tracks are instrumentals (there are actually quite a few instrumental tracks on this record). So there’s that. I love the way women sound on new wave songs, and while these may be closer to no wave than new wave, it’s a breath of fresh air.

The music is so sparsely simple and deliberate, with an almost 8-bit chip-tuney feel to it and vocal stylings to match that remind me a little of 80s J-pop (or, more precisely, what I imagine 1980s J-pop to sound like…), perhaps most awesomely so on Malvina Melville’s “Fille Cosmopolite.” It’s near perfection in style. If you love 1980s synth pop like we do, French Synth Lovers #2 is a whole lot of fun. Who knows, you might even dance around the room a little while it’s playing. I’m not saying I did or anything. But it could happen. It could.

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